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National Action Party (Mexico)

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National Action Party (Mexico)

National Action Party
President Ricardo Anaya Cortés[1]
Founded 16 September 1939 (1939-09-16)

Av. Coyoacán, № 1546
Colonia del Valle

Del. Benito Juárez
México DF CP03100
Youth wing Acción Juvenil (Youth Action)
Ideology Christian democracy[2]
Liberal conservatism[3]
Political position Centre-right[8][9][10] to Right-wing[11][12][13]
International affiliation International Democratic Union,
Centrist Democrat International
Regional affiliation Union of Latin American Parties,
Christian Democrat Organization of America
Colors Blue and White
Seats in the Chamber of Deputies
114 / 500
Seats in the Senate
38 / 128
6 / 32
Politics of Mexico
Political parties

The National Action Party (Spanish: Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) is one of the three main political parties in Mexico. From 2000 until 2012 the President of Mexico had been a member of this party; both houses had PAN pluralities, but the party did not have a majority in either house of the Congress. In the 2006 legislative elections the party won 207 out of 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 52 out of 128 Senators. In the 2012 Legislative Elections, the Pan won 38 seats in the Senate, and 114 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.[14]


20th century

Mexican Roman Catholics, together with other conservatives (mainly Manuel Gómez Morín), founded the National Action Party (PAN) on September 17, 1939, after the cristero insurgency was forced by the Mexican bishops to abandon the Cristero War.[15] They were looking for a peaceful way to bring about change in the country and to achieve political representation, after the years of chaos and violence that followed the Mexican Revolution. The turning point in the Cristero War was when the Roman Catholic Church reached an agreement with the National Revolutionary Party (PRN) – the forerunner of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) that dominated the country for most of the 20th century until 1999 – under which it turned a blind eye to the lack of democracy in the country and stopped supporting the Catholic rebels, threatening its members with excommunication if they disobeyed the government.

In 1946, PAN members [16]

In 1962, [16]

21st century

  States governed by PAN

In the 2000 presidential elections, the candidate of the Alianza por el cambio ("Alliance for Change"), formed by the PAN and the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), Vicente Fox Quesada won 42.5% of the popular vote and was elected president of Mexico. In the senate elections of the same date, the Alliance won 46 out of 128 seats in the Senate. The Alliance broke off the following year and the PVEM has since participated together with the PRI in most elections. In the 2003 mid-term elections, the party won 30.74% of the popular vote and 153 out of 500 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

In 2003, the PAN lost the governorship of Nuevo León to the PRI and, the following year, failed to win back the state of Chihuahua from the PRI. Coupled with a bitterly fought election in Colima that was cancelled and later re-run, these developments were interpreted by some political analysts to be a significant rejection of the PAN in advance of the 2006 presidential election. In contrast, 2004 did see the PAN win for the first time in Tlaxcala, in a state that would not normally be considered PAN territory, although its candidate was a member of the PRI until a few months before the elections. It also managed to hold on to Querétaro (by a mere 3% margin against the PRI) and Aguascalientes (although in 2007, it lost most of the municipalities and the local Congress to the PRI). However, in 2005 the PAN lost the elections for the state government of Mexico State and Nayarit to the PRI. The former was considered one of the most important elections in the country because of the number of voters involved, which is higher than the elections for head of government of the Federal District. (See: 2003 Mexican elections, 2004 Mexican elections and 2005 Mexican elections for results.)

For the presidential election in 2006, Felipe Calderón, a former party president, was selected as the PAN's candidate, after beating his opponents Santiago Creel (Secretary of the Interior during Fox's term) and Alberto Cárdenas (former governor of Jalisco) in every voting round in the party primaries. On July 2, 2006, Felipe Calderón secured a plurality of the votes cast. Finishing less than one percent behind was Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who challenged the results of the election on possible grounds of electoral fraud. In addition to the presidency, the PAN won 206 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 52 in the Senate, securing it the largest single party blocs in both houses.

In 2007, the PAN lost the governorship and the majority in the state congress of Yucatán to the PRI as well as the municipal presidency of Aguascalientes, but kept both the governorship and the majority in the state congress of Baja California. The PRI also obtained more municipal presidents and local congresspeople in Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Chiapas and Oaxaca. The PRD obtained more posts than the PAN in Zacatecas, Chiapas and Oaxaca.

In 2009, the PAN held 33 seats in the Senate and 142 seats in the Chamber of deputies.[14]

In 2012, the PAN lost the Presidential Election to Enrique Peña Nieto of the PRI. They also won 38 seats in the Senate (a gain of 3 seats), and 114 seats in the Chamber of Deputies (a loss of 28 seats).[14]


The PAN has been linked to a conservative stance in Mexican politics since its inception, but the party does not consider itself a fundamentally conservative party. The party ideology, at least in principle, is that of "National Action" which rejects a fundamental adherence to left- or right-wing politics or policies, instead requiring the adoption of such policies as correspond to the problems faced by the nation at any given moment. Thus both right- and left-wing policies may be considered equally carefully in formulation of national policy. (This is a similar theoretical basis as both Gaullism and Peronism, although the similarity is weakened in the late authoritarian stance of Perón.)

This theory of National Action politics, rejecting a fundamental adherence to right or left, is held within a strongly Christian context, and falls under the umbrella of Christian democracy.

The party theory was largely developed by early figures such as Gómez Morín and his associates. However, some observers consider the PAN claim to National Action politics to be weakened by the apparent persistent predominance of conservatism in PAN policy in practice.

Economic policies

The PAN currently occupies the trade agreements.

Social policies


Carlos Abascal, secretary of the interior in the latter part of the Fox administration, called emergency contraception a "weapon of mass destruction" in July 2005.[17] It was during Fox's term, however, that the "morning-after" pill was legalized, even though the Church had condemned the use of these kind of pills, calling them "abortion pills".

The PAN produced a television spot against state-financed abortion, one that features popular comedian Chespirito (who was also featured on a TV spot promoting Vicente Fox in the 2000 presidential elections) and a second one that accuses the PRI and PRD of wanting to kill the unborn.[18] After the abortion bill, which made abortion available, anonymous, and free or government-paid, was approved at the local legislature, the PAN requested the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District (CDHDF) to enact actions on the unconstitutionality of the measure, the CDHDF rejected the request as it found no basis of unconstitutionality.[19] After unsuccessfully appealing to unconstitutionality, the PAN declared that it may request the remotion of Emilio Álvarez Icaza, the president of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, for his lack of moral quality.[20] The PAN, with the members of the Association of Catholic Lawyers, gathered signatures and turned them in to the Federal District Electoral Institute (IEDF) to void the abortion bill and force a referendum,[21] which was also rejected by the IEDF. In May 2007, the PAN started a campaign to encourage rejections to perform abortion amongst doctors in the Federal District based on conscience.[22]

Recognition of sex unions in Mexico

The PAN has opposed measures to establish civil unions in Mexico City and Coahuila. On November 9, 2006, the government of the Federal District approved the first law establishing civil unions in Mexico. The members of the PAN, and a member of New Alliance were the only legislators that voted against it.[23]

The same year, the local legislature of Coahuila approved the law of civil unions to which the PAN also opposed.[24] The PAN also lodged an unconstitutionality plea before the Supreme Court of Justice of the State of Coahuila, alleging that the constitution has vowed to protect the institution of the family.[25]

Guillermo Bustamente Manilla, a member of the PAN and the president of the National Parents Union (UNPF) is the father of Guillermo Bustamante Artasánchez, a law director of the Secretary of the Interior, Carlos Abascal, during Fox's presidency and is currently working in the Calderón administration against abortion and same-sex civil unions.[26] He called the latter as "anti-natural."[27] He has publicly asked voters not to cast votes for "abortionist" parties and those who are in favor of homosexual relationships.[28]

Other issues

In some cases, PAN mayors and governors have banned public employees from wearing miniskirts (Guadalajara), clamped down on the use of profanity in public marketplaces (Santiago de Querétaro), and the last and most polemical had to be with the mayor of Guanajuato, who tried to prevent couples from kissing on the streets, although this law did not pass.

Party Presidents

1.- Resigned to run for president

Electoral history

Presidential elections

Election year Candidate # votes % vote Result Note
1952 Efraín González Luna 285,555 7.8 Red XN Defeated
1958 Luis H. Álvarez 705,303 9.4 Red XN Defeated
1964 José González Torres 1,034,337 11.0 Red XN Defeated
1970 Efraín González Morfín 1,945,070 14.0 Red XN Defeated
1976 No Candidate null null Steady
1982 Pablo Emilio Madero 3,700,045 16.4 Red XN Defeated
1988 Manuel Clouthier 3,208,584 16.8 Red XN Defeated
1994 Diego Fernández de Cevallos 9,146,841 25.9 Red XN Defeated
2000 Vicente Fox 15,989,636 42.5 Green tickY Elected Coalition: Alliance for Change
2006 Felipe Calderón 15,000,284 35.8 Green tickY Elected
2012 Josefina Vázquez Mota 12,473,106 25.40 Red XN Defeated

Congressional elections

Chamber of Deputies

Election year Constituency PR # of seats Position Presidency Note
votes % votes %
1994 8,664,834 25.8 8,833,468 25.8
119 / 500
Minority Ernesto Zedillo
1997 7,696,197 25.9 7,792,290 25.9
121 / 500
Minority Ernesto Zedillo
2000 14,212,032 38.2 14,321,975 38.3
223 / 500
Minority Vicente Fox Coalition: Alliance for Change
2003 8,189,699 30.7 8,219,649 30.7
151 / 500
Minority Vicente Fox
2006 13,753,633 33.4 13,845,121 33.4
206 / 500
Minority Felipe Calderón
2009 9,679,435 28.0 9,714,181 28.0
143 / 500
Minority Felipe Calderón
2012 12,895,902 25.9 12,971,363 25.9
114 / 500
Minority Enrique Peña Nieto

Senate elections

Election year Constituency PR # of seats Position Presidency Note
votes % votes %
1994 8,805,038 25.7
25 / 128
Minority Ernesto Zedillo
1997 7,880,966 26.1
33 / 128
Minority Ernesto Zedillo
2000 14,208,973 38.1 14,339,963 38.2
60 / 128
Minority Vicente Fox Coalition: Alliance for Change
2006 13,889,159 33.5 14,035,503 33.6
52 / 128
Minority Felipe Calderón
2012 13,126,478 26.3 13,245,088 26.3
38 / 128
Minority Enrique Peña Nieto


  1. ^ Presidente del Partido Acción Nacional
  2. ^ Loaeza, Soledad (2003), "The National Action Party (PAN): From the Fringes of Political System to the Heart of Change", Christian Democracy in Latin America: Electoral Competition and Regime Conflicts (Stanford University Press): 196 
  3. ^ Shirk, David A. (2005), Mexico's New Politics: The PAN and Democratic Change, Lynne Rienner Publishers, p. 54 
  4. ^ Shirk, David A. (2005), Mexico's New Politics: The PAN and Democratic Change, Lynne Rienner Publishers, p. 57 
  5. ^ O'Toole, Gavin (2007), Politics Latin America, Pearson Education, p. 383 
  6. ^ Gauss, Susan M. (2010), Made in Mexico, Penn State Press, p. 70 
  7. ^ Rhodes Cook (2004). The Presidential Nominating Process: A Place for Us?. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 118.  
  8. ^ Bensusán, Graciela; Middlebrook, Kevin J. (2012), "Organized Labor and Politics in Mexico", The Oxford Handbook of Mexican Politics (Oxford University Press): 347 
  9. ^ Wiltse, Evren Çelik (2007), "Globalization and Mexico", Globalization: Universal trends, regional implications (University Press of New England): 214 
  10. ^ Cornelius, Wayne A. (2002), "Mexicans Would Not Be Bought, Coerced", The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke University Press): 684 
  11. ^ Adler-Lomnitz, Larissa; Salazar-Elena, Rodrigo; Adler, Ilya (2010), Symbolism and Ritual in a One-Party Regime: Unveiling Mexico's Political Culture, University of Arizona Press, p. 293 
  12. ^ Mazza, Jacqueline (2001), Don't Disturb the Neighbors: The United States and Democracy in Mexico, 1980-1995, Routledge, p. 9 
  13. ^ Needler, Martin C. (1995), Mexican Politics: The Containment of Conflict edition=3rd, Praeger Publishers, p. 61 
  14. ^ a b c Seelke, Claire. "Mexico’s 2012 Elections". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  15. ^ Lucas, Jeffrey Kent (2010). The Rightward Drift of Mexico’s Former Revolutionaries: The Case of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama.  
  16. ^ a b History of the PAN. PAN official website.
  17. ^ Secretaría de Gobernación, July 19, 2005.
  18. ^ Frontera, Difunde PAN spot Vs. aborto en Internet, April 26, 2007.
  19. ^ Human Rights Commission of the Federal District, CDHDF NO EJERCERÁ ACCIÓN DE INCONSTITUCIONALIDAD, May 3, 2007.
  20. ^ La Crónica, El PAN-DF, molesto porque Álvarez Icaza apoyó la despenalización, ahora pide la cabeza del ombudsman, May 5, 2007
  21. ^ El Sol de México, Invalida IEDF solicitud de referendum sobre el aborto.
  22. ^ La Jornada, Inicia PAN-DF campaña contra el aborto en hospitales, May 8, 2007.
  23. ^ El Universal, Aprueban la Ley de Sociedades de Convivencia, November 9, 2007.
  24. ^ El Diario de Coahuila, Júbilo en comunidad gay.
  25. ^ Hispavista
  26. ^ Proceso, Calderón, cómplice del clero, April 23, 2007.
  27. ^ Noticias, Voz e Imágen de Oaxaca, March 16, 2007
  28. ^ ACI Prensa, Padres de familia mexicanos piden no votar por partidos abortistas, April 30, 2007.

External links

  • (Spanish) Official website of the National Action Party
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